Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and the world needs to stop maligning its efforts with baseless propaganda

Source:  Tribune Published in Defence on Friday, June 30, 2017

History testifies to the fact that Pakistan was a great supporter of the Atoms for Peace initiative and had no designs to acquire nuclear weapons. Pakistan strictly adhered to a no-nuclear weapon policy for years. But India’s nefarious designs, which were constantly threatening the existence of Pakistan, compelled Pakistan to take serious steps towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

It is also a known secret that Pakistan’s nuclear program has constantly been ardently supported by Pakistanis. They reject any external opposition or criticism regarding the nuclear program. They are fully aware of the fact that in the presence of a stringent enemy in the neighbourhood, it is Pakistan’s nuclear program that guarantees their existence and freedom. Pakistanis have always rejected criticism of their nuclear program, since they know about the strategic environment of South Asia and are familiar with the notion that such criticism is only intended to put Pakistan at a disadvantageous position in the current strategic realm.

An article published in The New York Times titled The World Must Secure Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapon illustrated how once again, a malicious and baseless propaganda has been initiated against Pakistan. The writer of the said article, on the basis of ridiculous and frivolous grounds, has questioned the security of Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Furthermore, he has referred to a letter allegedly written by the Atomic Energy Commission to the Strategic Plans Division, immediately after the deadly terrorist attack in an army school in Peshawar, whereby the former has asked the latter to devote more resources to ensure the monitoring of those persons who hold knowledge and information of the nuclear program.

The writer on the basis of the aforementioned reasons and other unreasonable frivolous grounds concludes that the US and the United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC) must step in for securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals. In response to this maligning, baseless and frivolous accusation, it can be said that firstly, the veracity and existence of this letter has not yet been verified. Secondly, even if we suppose that this letter has been written, it only denotes the vigilance and seriousness of the respective institutions towards nuclear security.

A similar step was taken by Germany in the wake of the terrorist strikes in Brussels in 2016, whereby access privileges to nuclear facilities from various employees were withdrawn when they came to know that terrorists had spied on nuclear power plants. Rather than raising eyebrows, the initiation of these serious steps should be applauded. The author states,

“Despite all of this, the Pakistani authorities continue to insist in public that their nuclear assets are safe.”

However, it has been affirmed in the past by Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals are well secured. Thus, he is basing his facts on thin air.

Another malicious argument concocted by the author of the said article is based on the policy paper called the National Internal Security Policy 2014-2018 issued by the Ministry of Interior, which outlined the security priorities of Pakistan. The said paper identifies and points out terrorist groups operational in various areas of Pakistan. Again, an honest and positive effort of Pakistan to eradicate the curse of terrorism is taken negatively, and on the same basis, the author is calling the world at large to secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

The author has failed to take into account that Pakistan has developed and put in place credible long-term and short-term policies regarding its nuclear program. The credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear security is evident from the fact that to date, not even a single incident of theft or misuse of nuclear material has been reported. This fact manifests the efficiency and effectiveness of the policies of institutions responsible for Pakistan’s nuclear program. These institutions are successfully countering the security challenges to our nuclear program.

Pakistan has also adopted and put in place the measures as required by United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540. These measures pertain to the prevention of theft and sabotage of nuclear material during transportation. Furthermore, Pakistan not only participates, but also complies with international endeavours to prevent nuclear terrorism. Our contribution and commitment towards nuclear safety and security cannot be overlooked as Pakistan not only encourages but is also a part of the leading global efforts aimed at countering and combating nuclear terrorism.

For example, Pakistan is part of the Nuclear Security Summit, and actively participated in two of its summits, which were held in 2010 and 2012 respectively. In addition, Pakistan has also joined the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), and is also fulfilling international obligations as required by UNSCR 1540.

If viewed from the backdrop of recent skirmishes between Pakistan and Afghanistan, one can easily deduce that the issues raised by the author in the said article appear to be agenda driven.

Moreover, the author should take into account Afghanistan’s security situation rather than worrying about our current security situation. With the recent attacks which left Afghanistan reeling, the Afghan government must reconsider revamping their security structure, rather than blaming Pakistan for every terrorism-related incident.

The issues are an off-shoot of the anti-Pakistan campaign that has been launched by India, especially in Balochistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan. The author miserably failed to build a cogent case against Pakistan’s nuclear program and it seems that he is working on the agenda of India, which has been constantly trying to weaken the position of Pakistan since its creation.

The author claims,

“Pakistan must be forced to stop playing a double game, supporting extremist groups while publicly proclaiming that it is fighting terrorism.”

He has forgotten that Pakistan is a responsible country, which was and is still fighting on the forefront of the war against terrorism. Pakistan has launched major operations such as Zarb-e-Azab and Radd-ul-Fasaad against terrorism, and has caused irreparable damage to the terrorists. Instead of encouraging Pakistan, and urging other states to join hands with Pakistan, the author is deliberately trying to initiate a malicious propaganda against Pakistan.

The international community not only acknowledges, but is also mindful of the fact that Pakistan is complying with the international obligations with respect to the security of its nuclear arsenals, and recognises Pakistan as a responsible state. The international community must take notice of such activities that put hurdles in the way of a responsible state, which is fighting day and night to ensure peace and stability in the Pakistan and the world.

Ali Raza

Ali Raza

The writer is a visiting faculty member at Air University. He holds a Masters degree in strategic and nuclear studies (S&NS) from National Defence University, Islamabad. He tweets @razaali31

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